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A Long Shadow: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery    by Charles Todd order for
Long Shadow
by Charles Todd
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Charles Todd cannot write fast enough to satisfy my cravings for sophisticated and exciting English mysteries. A Long Shadow, the latest in the Ian Rutledge series, is a wonderfully written tale of the aftermath of World War I, filled with intrigue, envy, revenge, attacks and death - any one of which is enough to satisfy the most voracious of mystery readers.

Ian Rutledge is sent by Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Bowles to the small village of Dudlington, a day's drive from London. The year is 1919 and the town's constable has been shot with a bow and arrow! Who? Why? How? Rutledge is to quickly find the guilty party and close the case. Rutledge is suspicious of why Bowles - long an adversary - would send someone from the Yard and not let the locals handle the attack.

Nevertheless, Rutledge, with his constant companion Hamish, leave for Dudlington to find there is more there than meets the eye. (Hamish lives in the inner recesses of Rutledge's brain as a result of Hamish's death in the trenches.) The plot becomes more and more intricate, with cleverly woven strands detailing more and more of the lives of the villagers. Rutledge is fighting his own war-inflicted demons - claustrophobia and panic attacks for starters - but manages to bring the story to a satisfying climax.

Todd's finely drawn characters - with their own problems unrelated to the skewering of the constable - contribute to the feeling the reader has of being closely connected to this village and its inhabitants. I recommend A Long Shadow to you. Suspend reality for a few hours and enjoy the latest in an exciting series.

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